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Eating

What a mess! If you don't already have a dog, you may feel you want to at least borrow one from a friend during mealtimes when your child is a toddler. Most toddlers will begin using forks and spoons (and fingers and thumbs) to eat just after they turn one year old. Allowing your child to feed herself is great for her development but it can be difficult to watch!

Do your best to try and provide a variety of healthy foods to your child at every snack and meal. It is helpful if you cut the food into small pieces and ensure your child is able to safely chew and swallow the food being offered.

Patience is the key to happy mealtimes and forcing your child to eat something is likely to create stress and frustration for everyone. You might have to introduce a new food to your child multiple times before he is able to enjoy it. If your toddler only eats peas and bananas one night and black beans and sweet potatoes the next night, do not worry. Toddlers and preschoolers do not need to eat from every food group at every meal each day to meet their nutritional needs. This is okay – most toddlers and preschoolers will get their nutritional needs met throughout the week.

In terms of the amount of food that your toddler is eating, just remember that toddlers and preschoolers will usually eat when they are hungry and eat until they are full. Young children have small stomachs so they often need to eat more frequently than adults. As long as you provide healthy snacks and meals, your child will get the nutrition he needs.

It is important to follow the recommendations in the Canada Food Guide on types and amounts of foods your child should eat. For more specific information on your toddler and his nutritional needs, speak to your health care provider

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